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Change: The Only Constant

Sep 15

I suppose I should warn “The Kraaken” up front that this little story will take the long way ’round to make a point; that way he (she) can tune out, while others see if they can learn something about “change”.

The story goes like this: A couple of days ago I received a surprise telephone call from an old friend.  I hadn’t seen or spoke with this former co-worker for approximately 25-30 years.  We worked together in the Correctional Service of Canada, following each other to a couple of different prisons from the old BC Penitentiary to some out in the “Valley” after the “Pen” was closed down.

I always admired and held a special affinity for this fellow.  Although he didn’t work in the Psychology Department as I did, he seemed to be quite psychologically sophisticated and he commanded a great deal of respect among the inmates.  He grasped the idea that the totality of a person cannot be defined by a single act, job, attitude, or period in that person’s life.  Moreover, he was able to communicate this to the other inmates.

As I noted earlier, we hadn’t seen or spoken with each other for several decades.  The occasion of the call was his birthday (his 65th to be exact).  We had worked so well together and truly became “brothers” of a sort while “inside”, he told his wife he would like to speak with me as one of his birthday gifts.  She did some great sleuthing, found me, and the birthday boy and I were reunited on the big day.

My old friend and I had a great conversation over almost the period of one hour.  We spoke of “the old days”.  He reminded me of things that I used to say in those days gone by.  It seemed as if he remembered them better than I.  He related to me that he had passed these words along to inmates that he worked with both “inside and out”, in an effort to assist them in their “journeys of change”.  In addition, he jogged my memory of some of the dangerous and frightening incidents that we had experienced during our time “inside”.

He doesn’t do his work “inside” any longer.  In a very real sense he works on the “outside” now, and continues his “work for others”; just like we used to talk about when we were both “doing time”; me on the installment plan and him with no respite.  We plan to meet soon, when he is close by on the business of living outside his own head and for others.

Oh, I’m sorry!  Have I neglected to mention this call came from a man, who when younger was a violent criminal and was eventually awarded a life sentence for a vicious murder during an Armed Robbery.  He is now on a Full Parole that he earned day by day over approximately 26 years of incarceration, without one fucking whimper!!

I am struck by this man’s character strength.  Where’s yours?  In my (not so) humble opinion, you need the RCMP in your life, as it exists today, as much as my dear friend needs a gun in his!!  A step toward finding your strength of character might involve making the RCMP a UNION SHOP!!!!

“I don’t believe in magic, fairy dust, the Div. Rep. Program, or any other alternative generated by management…………..but I do believe in you!!”

Dr. Mike Webster

Reg’d Psych   (#0655)

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11 Comments
  1. Rob Creasser permalink

    In my position as the Media Liaison for the Mounted Pilice Professional Association of Canada, I try to educate the public, media, as well as members about the need for a collectively bargained agreement.
    The post by a member in relation to members needing to know policy further illustrated the need for education of the membership about what collective bargaining is and why it can be beneficial.
    As a former 28 year member of the Force, I am very familiar with the workings of the RCMP and how policy can be interpreted, depending on who’s doing the interpretation.
    The beauty of a collective agreement, (something that every other police agency in Canada has and what MPPAC is seeking on behalf of all members of the RCMP), is that it is a legally binding agreement between the employer, RCMP management, and the employees who are represented by a bargaining agent. In the case of the RCMP, MPPAC hopes to be that bargaining agent.
    In the event of an impass between the bargaining agent and management or the Treasury Board, (the employer), an independent third party arbitrator is brought in to adjudicate the situation. Management or Treasury Board does not have the final say about the interpretation of “policy.”
    There is a huge difference between policy and a collectively bargained agreement. One has teeth and can be enforced. One doesn’t.
    If you feel that you want a strong voice for your concerns and do not want things left us to policy interpretation, there is really only one choice and that is MPPAC. Our website is http://www.mppac.ca. Please visit and educate yourself about what we can offer. If your convinced that a collectively bargained agreement is the way forward, please join us. We need 50% plus one of you to be your agents. We have a ways to go to get there.

    Rob Creasser
    Media Liaison
    MPPAC
    (250) 371-1071

  2. thekraaaken permalink

    I apologize for this segue from my previous tack, however I must comment on Dr. Websters note. I would like to say that I agree with his union view, but, I must first ask a quick question. Where do you go to get specific expertise? I would not go to Dr. Webster to seek guidance on my renovations. (Not that I am sure he would be helpful) because he is neither an architect nor engineer which is what advice I need. I would go to each specific expert by reputation.

    Now bearing that in mind, Why are we going to any RCMP members for a union/association? Why are we not going to experts in that field who already have a proven track record, nation wide presence, structure and operations in place? In other words why are we not going to the Teamsters? I was struck by this question when another member posed it the other day. Its just that easy! (Apologies to Shell Busey). They are nation wide, have a track record, and could pick up the torch in short order.

    Of course I am negating interference from govt and useless management. Just give it a mull over in your mind. It could work. It would be fast, efficient, and beneficial.

    Lastly, why would I tune out Dr. Webster? Certainly you are not insinuating I am incapable of understanding or learning from your story? After all, it sounds like my uncle.

    • Rob Creasser permalink

      To answer your question, we get our expertise from the Police Associations in Canada that have been in existence for decades. MPPAC is a member of the Canadian Police Association which is the umbrella organization for all unionized police agencies in Canada. Through that organization we have access to every collectively bargained police contract and therefore have the ability to use language and expertise from those that have actually negotiated their contracts. Various groups have already offered to help us with our first collective agreement.
      Groups like Teamsters and Steelworkers are trade unions and do not necessarily have the expertise to negotiate police matters, although they certainly have the expertise to help organize.

      • Bob permalink

        You have encapsulated the response precisely.

  3. thekraaken permalink

    I have no doubt that is true and accurate Mr Creasser. The question is what percentage of the Force is a member of MPPAC? It has always been so that to get all members together to agree to do anything is almost impossible without a herding dog. Hypothetically speaking, can you pick a week in the coming year and have a recruitment drive at every detachment in Canada to sign up a majority of members? Do you have a national communications system other than the Force? Representatives at every detachment or nearby enough for every one?

    Using past police agreements and outside expertise for those items is not beyond the purview of the Teamsters. Is the Public Services Division of the Teamsters incapable of doing this? They already represent court workers and police officers.

    • Rob Creasser permalink

      You raise several good points. It is indeed difficult to get members stationed across the country on the same page and we currently do not have the manpower to have representatives in every detachment spreading the Association word. All our executives save one, (our President who has taken a leave of absence), continue to have their Force “day jobs” and volunteer to do Association work.
      You assume, incorrectly from my experience, that members of the Force would support being organized by a trade union like Teamsters. The majority that I have spoken with do not support being affiliated with any type of trade union, thus we continue on the path we are on, trying to convince one member at a time of the value of our Association and get them to convince their co-workers. I have traveled to all four western provinces to speak to members. Next week I travel to Ontario to speak to members there, hopefully the maritimes in October.
      Are you an MPPAC member? If not, why not?

  4. thekraaken permalink

    What causes me concern is what machinations the govt and the Commissioner will come up with to address the courts direction. You did not give me a percentage of the force that are MPPAC members. Out of the 18K+, how many have memberships at this time?

    My fear is that we will be sitting around doing nothing as a whole, while the govt and the Commissioner come up with their prize answer that will be foisted upon us. Its not going to be good. Then we will be bitching about that around the coffee table and be no farther ahead.

    • Rob Creasser permalink

      As I am not on the executive of MPPAC I am not privy to membership numbers. I know we are no where near to 50% plus one.
      Speaking of not answering questions, are you an MPPAC member?
      What are you as member going to do to ensure the Supreme Court decision is respected and you get to choose a labour relations system that works for you? Have you even educated yourself about collective bargaining and how that system works?
      If you do nothing, you’ll get what you deserve.

  5. Buck permalink

    I think you identified the number one problem in your second paragraph, Mr./Ms. krakken.

    The fact is most members are sitting around doing nothing as a whole, living in fear of becoming a victim and target if they dare speak or act contrary to the status quo, you can be certain the Commissioner, Senior Executive and their cliques are following the Governments instructions to feather their own nests. All of this is at the expense of the frontline personnel.

    Let’s remember how this current administration despises the Supreme Court, their decisions and application of the Charter.

    Having anything foisted upon the members is entirely in the hands of the members, if the status quo is followed you can be certain you will get a worse that the non existent system that has been in place will be renamed, repackaged and re-marketed to members that it is good for them. It will be considerably worse than what is currently in existence, you are correct as well that members will sit bitching and moaning about how bad things are.

    Instead of sitting and waiting for the other guy to step up and join MPPAC to have a voice in what goes on, members should for their own best interests and that of their families and communities be the ones to step up and become involved in the changes that are direly needed. Conversely they can continue being fearful, apathetic and accept the crap that will be foisted upon them, whilst sitting around snivelling at how bad they are being treated.

    As an MPPAC member I intend to stand up and act like a Mountie to protect myself and other members in obtaining a Collective Agreement, god forbid we get anything foisted upon us and have to see another Mayerthorpe or Moncton disaster, as well as watching pay and benefits erode even further.

    Buck

  6. thekraaken permalink

    An article in the Province today relates that the membership of the MPPA is 3200 members. Interesting one has to get the numbers from the newspaper.

    • Rob Creasser permalink

      It’s really quite simple. As a result of my attendance at the Supreme Court in Vancouver on October 9th to announce a civil writ of claim against several high ranking officers of the RCMP for illegally disclosing members’ personal medical information without their knowledge or consent, I met with the President of MPPAC and learned where we were with our membership numbers.
      Most members that I speak with are more concerned about what we can do for them than how many of their colleagues have joined.
      I am currently in Ottawa talking to members about collective bargaining and what MPPAC can do if we are chosen by the membership to represent them. Earlier in the week I was in Moncton and Fredericton. Tomorrow we’re in Toronto.
      Members are learning about us and joining while you continue, it seems to focus on how big are numbers are while sitting on the fence.

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